Link to my Flikr photostream.

I am switching my photo and video to Flikr, due to its ease of use and the speed of uploading, as well as the fact that it gives far more memory than WordPress for such things. I probably will continue to use wordpress for writeups and links to things that interest me. I am finding that Google + is a very lonely place indeed, despite my loving its layout and sharing settings. Facebook still is too messy and over-doing its attempts to turn me into a monetary unit for their benefit, and most of the people I regularly see on Facebook I honestly never see in reality or interact with in the flesh world.

Here’s the link to my photos: check regularly for updates- this is particularly directed at Ariel fans, probably lots of Ariel pics and vids. Most people I cared to try to let see this link have been directly emailed, this is for anyone I may have inadvertently missed or perhaps didn’t get due to language differences.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattclark886/

 

April 26th update

In career news, I am in negotiations with a potential employer at the moment. Hopefully it all comes through… I have a pretty good feeling (90%) it will work out and I will have a daytime job starting in July. That’s great, but I have to stay alive in the meantime, so part time hours from them and hopefully an evening job teaching adults will be handy. I have applied at a couple adult specialization schools and I have heard some interest from some of them… but no hours offered yet… cross my fingers on that.

In home news, I am still waiting for the use of a friends borrowed car to dump the last 6 or 7 bags of recycling at a depot nearby. We have all the rooms we use cleared, our bedroom, Ariel’s bedroom, the living room, and the majority of the kitchen are clear of junk. Right now we have a storage room which will be my office once it is clear, and part of the kitchen is still filled with an overabundance of recycle items from clearing up all the stuff our friend’s mom left behind.

We hosted our friend’s family and her sister’s family last weekend to get final instructions on what they wanted done with their mom’s items that we thought might be of interest, and got permission for about a 75% dispose and 25% keep in storage in a closet. (as it worked out.) Basically keep the valuable stuff, and toss the excess everyday stuff that she had piled up. Generally all of it being potentially useful old things but her mother had already replaced them all with newer better quality things but were still moldering in various corners of the house. (She could have saved us a ton of trouble by having a couple garage sales a few years ago!)

Ariel is finally sleeping in her own completely childproof room. That is the best thing about being out here- we control our own area again! It isn’t swank or luxury, but it is safe.

Ariel is the coolest baby, she has adapted well to riding on the scooter with us. I recently picked up a new, light folding stroller that fits well in front of me and it even folds down so she can lie inside the stroller (when we are walking around pushing her.) We strap Ariel on to our body when riding the scooter, and she has a helmet (a bit over-sized, but nobody seems to carry 16 month old sized helmets for some reason.)  She is as safe as I can get her until I can afford to finance an actual car. A parking spot isn’t a problem for us- its just getting the coinage to maintain a car and a job to get financing approved for a car. After a couple months into my next job I will likely start financing a car that ironically will mostly get driven by my wife to bring Ariel around… sigh. At least that makes my daughter safer. I do the best I can with what I have. Don’t kill me Grandma! I know its bad, but we need transport and quite frankly things are different now than even 10 years ago.

All in all, it has been 12 days and we almost have things back to semi-normal. The next couple steps will be harder. I think I will be back up to snuff by November, after I have a couple pay-cheques under my belt to have paid off everything…

Pics:

 

 

 

Wow. Amazing speech from 1972. Still highly relevant to today’s western social systems.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/still-irresistible-a-workingclass-heros-finest-speech-2051285.html

A part in the speech that sticks out to me:

” ….the widespread, implicit acceptance of the concept and term “the rat race”. The picture it conjures up is one where we are scurrying around scrambling for position, trampling on others, back-stabbing, all in pursuit of personal success. Even genuinely intended, friendly advice can sometimes take the form of someone saying to you, “Listen, you look after number one.” Or as they say in London, “Bang the bell, Jack, I’m on the bus.”

To the students [of Glasgow University] I address this appeal. Reject these attitudes. Reject the values and false morality that underlie these attitudes. A rat race is for rats. We’re not rats. We’re human beings. Reject the insidious pressures in society that would blunt your critical faculties to all that is happening around you, that would caution silence in the face of injustice lest you jeopardise your chances of promotion and self-advancement. This is how it starts, and before you know where you are, you’re a fully paid-up member of the rat-pack. The price is too high. It entails the loss of your dignity and human spirit. Or as Christ put it, “What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?”

another bit that stings a bit, given my optimism in the past regarding my chosen degree… that basically today feels like bitter ashes of foolish optimism…

… “In this context education has a vital role to play. If automation and technology is accompanied as it must be with a full employment, then the leisure time available to man will be enormously increased. If that is so, then our whole concept of education must change. The whole object must be to equip and educate people for life, not solely for work or a profession. The creative use of leisure, in communion with and in service to our fellow human beings, can and must become an important element in self-fulfilment.

Universities must be in the forefront of development, must meet social needs and not lag behind them. It is my earnest desire that this great University of Glasgow should be in the vanguard, initiating changes and setting the example for others to follow. Part of our educational process must be the involvement of all sections of the university on the governing bodies. The case for student representation is unanswerable. It is inevitable.”

-Wow- this shit was being talked about before I was BORN. What a disappointment on how the past 30 years played out.

The conclusion of his speech:

…”It’s an affirmation of faith in humanity. All that is good in man’s heritage involves recognition of our common humanity, an unashamed acknowledgement that man is good by nature. Burns expressed it in a poem that technically was not his best, yet captured the spirit. In “Why should we idly waste our prime…”:

“The golden age, we’ll then revive, each man shall be a brother,

In harmony we all shall live and till the earth together,

In virtue trained, enlightened youth shall move each fellow creature,

And time shall surely prove the truth that man is good by nature.”

It’s my belief that all the factors to make a practical reality of such a world are maturing now. I would like to think that our generation took mankind some way along the road towards this goal. It’s a goal worth fighting for.”

Yep, now I look at how it all played out since then. I can’t say that ALL people are shitty, its just when faced with opposition or obstacles… most people just don’t care how things get done as long as THEY don’t need to put effort into the decisions. And I suppose I am guilty of that in my own way, I honestly can say I now almost entirely no longer care about the rest of humanity and the crappy management decisions made by greedy morons- I have my own ass and family to worry about.

That all being said, I wouldn’t intentionally choose a path that hurt others, and perhaps not all the ‘scum’ I look back in history intended things to end up how it has. It seems that many of the people in power today are quite happy to do things like that, and perhaps in order to gain that level of power it is needed to do things that have no positive outcomes, you can only really judge someone who faces a double-negative outcome decision idea (lose-lose situational strategy) with hindsight, and see that people were really second-guessing and couch commanding with their ‘wisdom’ of historical viewpoints after the decisions are all made and consequences have fully played out.

The only problem I see with the future is that the consequences of past decisions still are unlikely to be fully played out… but perhaps better decisions made today can help stop bigger problems from becoming completely fatal problems for many people.

I would say in relation to my thoughts regarding the degree I chose is that I thought I might be able to live and get a salary from it; this was where I was mistaken and probably should have known better- people will always choose leisure that is cheap, efficient and doesn’t require effort or skill building, in general. SOME will choose to participate in expensive, skill building, inefficient and resource heavy usages of space- but those people will ONLY be those who have a higher amount of time, money and quite frankly, motivation (insanity and desire to appear superior and socially ‘dominate,’ like a dog that will pee everywhere and fight others at the drop of a hat). The majority of people in society don’t have those luxeries, yet we belittle everyone who doesn’t have that as ‘lazy’ or ‘unfit’ etc and tell them to ‘make time’ for ‘recreation’ and it becomes another form of torture and psychological manipulation and misery increasing.

In effect, I was being trained to guilt-trip and make people feel they ‘had’ to ‘recreate’ in socially ‘higher’ ways and to instill a sense of shame in others (to make money off them.). And hence my inner feeling this was wrong stayed with me. And I left to teach kids in Taiwan for many years, and quite frankly found it more rewarding mentally and more enlightening and fun than anything I could have gotten with my ‘rec’ degree, which probably was 4.5 years of wasted time for me in some ways. (I also think the self-centered cynicism that I detected at the workplaces I was in for my practicums was what caused me to not be accepted and to do badly in the end. I blamed myself for many years for that- but I think in the end, at least I have kept my soul…)  Still, in the end the degree DID help me get access to that job and some of the things I learned there related to what I did for the past 12 years, so I cannot say I regret that choice in my life.

I think this is why I get annoyed when I return to Canada: the guilt tripping, the fear programming; the torture everyone through TV and Internet kind of culture we have become of rat-race driven cynics is sickening to me. The nepotism, corruption and bland acceptance of it all by most people doesn’t help either. It isn’t much better in Taiwan, but at least I can escape it by not really being able to be ‘literate’ in the local language, and being able to mostly avoid the worst of the psychological fear/misery programming foisted on us through the media to increase consumption and money spending. I think this is what drives me to want to return to Taiwan, I prefer to avoid all the psychological programming that our bullshit controller class is doing to us.

Is is possible to change the ‘fear-motivator’ management system we have today? Perhaps- but I think something drastic, like a huge mandatory social service ‘draft’ type system is needed for ALL adults in society. I think Taiwan’s social fabric is much stronger than here in short due to the mandatory military draft there which bonds all members of the society together and under a uniform set of experiences in some ways.

We try that with high school here in N. America; hence our fond shared ‘memories’ of just how special and individual we are (when in truth we are all just programmed members of future target market groups being culled and refined into our own sub-categories out here.)

I can only really think that if instead of uniting in a way that is designed to kill outsiders and aliens in “Independance Day” or “Alien” type style programs, (ie. “kill the ‘Muslims’ “style of thought that seems popular in N. America- or the whole jihad bullshit in the middle east) but rather had a standardized uniform for public servants to help feed and shelter people and heal social ills rather than focusing and intensifying them as a way to stay employed for life in a beurocratic system- if you forced everyone to HAVE to do something to help society for 18-24 months of their lives and to perhaps be forced to learn some skills to help others and be made aware of people from different social backgrounds within their OWN and in some different geographic areas within their own country… perhaps then we might have a better place to live in. As it stands now… I honestly preferred my life in Taiwan where equity was valued a little bit more than house value in past years and it still is slightly more equitable than what I see in Alberta today. (that is changing quickly, however. Most people already cannot afford homes or dignity-granting jobs in TW either from what I can see.

North American society is the game of monopoly played out on a vast scale; it is obvious we are the end-game stage with 1% being the winners and the other people being forced out.

So what happens when you lose your work force? I guess you lose all your services and production skills too. This is the genius of the 1% today. I guess they figure robots will replace us all, perhaps they are right, and they will feel happier to conduct programmed conversations with programmed entities that always do exactly what you tell them to do…

General job description: my day.

Here is a quick description of what exactly I do at my job. I currently work at my first retail job at a place called ‘Education Station’ in Sherwood Park. I opened up the store today, (not as owner/op unfortunately–as the first worker on scene in the morning). Basically that means setting up the place and making sure it is ready to go, opening doors, turning on signs, putting out signs, etc. Then I did some cleaning. Then I did some placing inventory. After that, I moved around some displays and created a new rack and put some shiny educational mini-workbook thingies on it. Probably robots can’t do THAT stuff. Yet.

The owner arrived and worked with me for the morning and afternoon, I got trained in some customer service skills and started doing some training for locating particular items and gaining knowledge about the items. I continued training on the Quick-books POS program and did some transfers and some special orders for customers who couldn’t find what they were looking for. Overall, it was a pretty OK day, kept busy but not at a killing pace, so I was pretty happy about that. Its an OK job, I like it (but the pay isn’t enough to move into an apartment with my wife and daughter- but it covers food and health insurance costs while I live in the parents basement… (It MIGHT pay for a room in a shared accommodation in a bad part of town, but I really don’t want to live with people I don’t know or near a bunch of crackheads) -In Alberta you best pay for complete health insurance yourself- Alberta health only covers life threatening emergencies, not ongoing chronic med costs. Thanks Ayn Rand and Ralph Klein. You both balanced the books so well… for the oil industry, if not society, your children’s futures or for the mental and physical health of your citizens. But oil guys pay better after you get out of the political facade of ‘listening’ to people, I guess.

Got home, and went for a short walk out behind my parents house with my wife, kid and dogs. (The best thing about part time irregular, I guess!) We did a few quick sled rides down a nearby hill and scooted back home after. My wife, as usual, surpassed herself and created an awesome dinner for us. Sat around after, watched my daughter play and drank some coffee and listened to some music. (the only good thing about paying for digital cable is the music channels without ads, and that don’t freeze like Youtube.) Not too bad a day; but then again I wouldn’t choose to live my life in a way I couldn’t manage to enjoy in some way, sometimes.

 

 

Star Wars: Identities Exhibition

Today we went to the Edmonton Space and Science Center to explore around and see the big exhibition there titled “Star Wars: Identities.”

It was a good time; but clocked in as overpriced by my standards. It worked out to be 26.50 each adult for entry. Yipes. I was thinking it would be about 15$ in my dreamworld view, tainted by cheap access to educational museums in Taiwan. Kids over 3 would clock in at a fair price too, (my memory is fuzzy but I remember their ‘discounted’ price was over 10$ Canadian.  This exhibition might be something only for true Star Wars fans. I like my star wars movies- but I have only seen each of them about 3 times, so I am familiar with the story and mythology (I admit to reading some of the Star Wars fan fiction books as well, more because I like R.A. Salvatore’s writing.)

I admit I have been spoiled by living in a nation where health care and education are free and museums get full funding; most event entry prices were at about 2$ Canadian… in Taiwan. Out here I wouldn’t have objected to a 5$ entry fee for an adult. 18$ was a kind of unpleasant surprise. That is a 900% higher price for museums in Canada! HOLY SHIT PEOPLE! GET SOME PITCHFORKS AND TORCHES!! The quality of the museum was about the same as what I paid 2$ for back in Taiwan. It was not 900% better. I greased up my buttocks and entered having driven 40 minutes to view dusty artifacts from a movie created the year I was born.

We brought a fairly patient and laid back 13 month child in (thank god she was free entry.) ; she got a bit bored midway through and went to sleep in her stroller. Be warned that small strollers are permitted- but large strollers are NOT permitted. Ours met the strict requirement. The exhibition area gets tight in some sections that are popular; hence the stroller size limits are sensible.

The Star Wars universe is an interesting and exciting one, if a bit simplistic at times. The binary vision that it views the world in, and the frequent childlike answers of violence used to counter violence cloaked with the bafflegab of Jedi spirituality is at times a bit treacle-ly. The exhibit does provide some interesting views of how the ideas and visions of George Lucas came to life. I suppose there was a defensive view of why Jar Jar Binks was tossed into episode 1 for ‘comic relief’ also presented in the exhibit. My personal favorite part was the model of the Imperial Battlecruiser.

I sound a bit harsh; the psychological theme through the whole exhibit was quite well done; in the theme of motivational leadership seminars it explores your motivational and character development and lets you create your own character with a role in the Star Wars universe. It is quite fun, and you can learn a few things about yourself and think a bit about what made you the way you grew up to be and how the universe and events in your life and your own choices shape you. This part was something enjoyable and made the rather disjointed nature of what was basically left over parts of a historic movie and a childish fantasy universe into something deeper and semi-educational, and more entertaining than just looking at hollywood toss-offs. Would I pay 26.50 for it again: myself- I would not. For a person who deeply loved the Star Wars universe and is a subscriber to the Jedi religion: perhaps that is worth it.

(In my mind the deeper problem with price lies with local government funding cuts to museums and educational facilities- the 18$ price for the general admission to the Space Science Center’s somewhat dated feeling exhibits is where the true pain lies… I appreciate the fact it exists but I suspect that the prices will deter a large portion of parents who work average and below average paying jobs.) This is an exhibit that the top 1/3 of society can enjoy without any pain. The rest of us… get to sacrifice. Or perhaps it is only docile cow-like Canadians choosing to not object to high prices as a society? (Perhaps that is why USA has 50% to 100% cheaper prices on many foods, clothes and big ticket items that are also sold in Canada? Or is it us living in a fantasy that high prices equal best quality so by that token Canadians should pay 900% more than they need to for basic services?)

Anyways if you take out the price factor, the show was good.

Heres some pics to keep all of you happy.

The Edmonton Space Science Center, outside.

The Edmonton Space Science Center, outside.

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Welcome to my Blog.

The goal of this blog is to record my impressions of returning to Canada from being overseas for over a decade, hopefully more positive than negative.

Its good to be back in effect on WordPress. I am going to attempt to be better about blogging at this location.  This basically will be a personal journal/photo posting/ vid linking location this year in relation to living and working now that I have returned to Canada.

Big changes in my life since my last updates on this location. Back 1 year ago I became a dad while living and working in TW. Now I have crossed the ocean back to Canada and brought my family back with me. Currently we are working on rebooting my life and getting my feet back into Canadian society. Not the easiest of tasks, by any account.

I used to use WordPress before I got lazy while working as a textbook editor in Taiwan. I am switching back to here as it is a cleaner interface for me and it is easiest to control the content for me of what I want to see. Future pics from Canada and where ever fate sees fit to guide me will be posted here.

The pics below were taken today while trying out a new use for my boogieboard. It works surprisingly well for pulling my daughter around outside on the snow and ice. She seemed very happy about the whole thing. I am glad I can still use my boogieboard.

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We walked around in a woody area behind the Regency Estates area. There is a small playground there and a big field that has some paths that may be plowed every once in a while. Not a bad deal for being nearby my parents home! Worth a look if you live in the area, probably not worth a look if you are a traveler looking for interesting things to do. I will post some of those on this site later as I begin exploring around the Edmonton/ Alberta/ Western Canadian area.